Top 28 Goals for surviving the Holidays as a newly-late-diagnosed Aspie (Notes to self)

  1. Say “hi” to everyone; speak to everyone at least once.
  2. Determine an “escape route” early on, before I need it.
  3. Find one or two chosen, compatible people to talk longer with, and try to move to a quiet place as soon as possible.
  4. Find the wine early on and help myself, but don’t overdo it; it sneaks up on me!  And then my inhibitions disappear.  This is never good (for me) when done to excess; losing some inhibitions is helpful, but losing too many of them can create embarrassing moments.
  5. Try to strike a balance between talking too much and asking too many questions about them.  Tilt the balance a bit more toward them, though.
  6. Stick to subject matter that is benign but not too shallow.
  7. Observe food sensitivities and avoid problem foods.  But try everything that I can have, at least once, as long as I can tolerate the taste and texture.
  8. Give myself permission to take breaks, especially if a sufficiently quiet place can’t be had.
  9. Try to circulate a little, to avoid seeming snobby or depressed or elitist.
  10. Don’t over-share.  Don’t info-dump.
  11. Be on the lookout for cues or signs that I’m starting to go too far.  When people start giving off that “I’m distancing now” vibe, I’m starting to go too far; look for the first sign of that and STOP before things go any further.
  12. Know when to say when–regarding conversation, wine intake, sensory processing/tolerance/environment, contact with people…everything.
  13. Balance is key.
  14. Check in on Twitter and Facebook, especially with people who will be alone on the holidays.  Check email for notifications.
  15. Don’t think much about work.  Don’t worry about work.  Talk some about work, because it’s expected and people claim to want to know, but stop after a few sentences; they don’t want to know that much.  Don’t go into too much detail.  I must keep in mind that I am not a walking encyclopedia (at least, not today) and family is not a potential new patient market, nor staff in training.
  16. When asked questions, keep answers short, sweet, and basic.  They’re making conversation and catching up, not interviewing me for–or planning to write–my biography (whew!).
  17. Turn on short-term memory “record” function when talking with people; be present with them and try to stay engaged, even if I find them boring.
  18. Check everything I say at the brain-door before saying it; choose words carefully, lest they be misinterpreted or misunderstood.  Communicate clearly, but not too clearly (as in, bluntly).
  19. Brush my teeth and hair before I go.  Check self in mirror before leaving.  Change wrinkled shirt or jeans with holes or stains.  Ensure clean socks, too.  Bring gum and toothpicks.
  20. Load up on the Vitamin C and astragalus before leaving; don’t want to catch anyone’s illness, and someone will be sick or recovering.  Someone always is, every year.  In fact, assume that everyone is sick and keep a slight distance.
  21. Try to eat before I go.  Make healthy food choices; don’t get lax on smoothies or nutrition.
  22. Don’t forget protein bars and other snacks, in case there’s nothing at the shindig that I can eat (which is always a very real possibility).  Nothing’s open on Christmas, and even if it is, I don’t know my way around that neighborhood, and the road is a skating rink and the temperature will be brutal anyway.
  23. Bring a stim toy, even if it’s a soft scarf.  Resist the urge to play with my hair or completely absorb myself in my mobile for too long a stretch.
  24. Take deep breaths.
  25. Keep the self-talk positive.  Try to keep that self-talk internalized and not muttered/blurted out loud.
  26. Drive carefully; I’m not used to ice and snow.  Four-wheel drive is not a free ticket to take liberties on the road; it simply means that all four wheels will be actively spinning as they slide across the ice.
  27. Make it through with sanity and serenity intact.  Don’t overload, don’t melt down.  Listen to brain; listen to body.  Know my limits.
  28. Make it through in one physical piece, too.  Driving up north isn’t like driving down south.  Safety first.
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11 Comments

  1. i never had a stim toy. when i was about 9 i figured out that twirling my hair with my finger was one of the best things ever (we loved to spin as kids, too. i know you posted about that. never made a connection– not sure there is one, but it did make me consider the possibility– im still open to a possible connection.)

    after that, i barely spun or twirled my hair. its always great to have a cat or dog around– approved standard-issue stim toys for nds and nts alike. im more of a cat person, but a good dog will do in a pinch (it depends on the breed, too.) im somewhat allergic to cats– its not enough to stop me 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I hadn’t known there was a connection between spinning and being on the spectrum either lol 😊. I’m pretty sure they haven’t done any studies or anything (lol), but I found out about it when I saw some people discussing it on Twitter one day and how it seemed to be a spectrum phenomenon, and I thought “really?? I *loved* to spin. I thought *every* kid spun. That’s a spectrum thing??” Lol. There definitely seems to be an association. Maybe it’s one of the few stims that aren’t admonished by the grownups in our lives? I’m not sure 😘❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 😘❤️

        everybody stims. i was going to link to one of the thousands of shoe-dangling, leg-bouncing videos on youtube, though decided against it because its an actual fetish (and who knows what it would link to after that) i think most of the time when someone is doing that, its extremely and entirely innocent. but 100% of it is stimming. maybe you should compile a list (for fun, only when you feel like it) of the various ways that nts stim. theyre different, but theyre similar to us in a different way. im still not sure we are different enough to be our own species– but maybe almost! (ultimately i will bow to science on this, but too much “science” is bought and paid for. i believe in science as a very legitimate thing that we could be doing properly, if funding didnt taint it so.)

        Liked by 1 person

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